Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ultimate Frisbee in Dubai

For those of you who are going, "huh?," let me provide you with a brief explanation of what Ultimate Frisbee is. Ultimate Frisbee is a sport that has been rapidly growing in the U.S. and around the world in the last several years; it is now the fastest growing sport on U.S. college campuses. Ultimate Frisbee involves two competing teams, fielding 7 a side, moving a frisbee up the field in order to score in football-like end zones, with each score being worth 1 point (games are typically played to 13 or 15). You can't move with the disc, you have 10 seconds to throw, and any time the disc is dropped or the opposing team grabs it while in the air, it's a turnover.

Those are the basics. At the high-end levels, Ultimate (as it is commonly referred to) is a fast-paced sport that requires great skill and strategy to master. However, Ultimate is also a great sport to play recreationally. Across the U.S., and indeed across the world, there are a growing number of leagues and organizations that promote and facilitate recreational Ultimate Frisbee. Having lived in many different countries around the world, I have witnessed firsthand the increasing appeal of Ultimate. As it turns out, Dubai is no exception to the trend. Just before I left for Dubai, one of the first things that I did was to see if there was an Ultimate Frisbee league, and sure enough, there was a highly structured league and organized groups of pick-up Ultimate.

One of the things that I appreciate most about Ultimate Frisbee, is the people that it attracts. From Mali to Dubai, I've met some of the most interesting people in my life through Ultimate Frisbee. For one reason or another, Ultimate brings together highly educated people from all walks of life. Here in Dubai, through Ultimate Frisbee I've met airline pilots, entrepreneurs, private equity firm CEO's, a chef at the Burj Al Arab, a high-powered consultant, and many more. Going to a game of Ultimate is always a rewarding experience, because you never know who you're going to meet, or the friends you're going to make. Many of my best friends, friends that I would consider life-long, have been through Ultimate Frisbee.

So, while it's fantastic to be abroad here in Dubai, I am glad that I still have the opportunity to play Ultimate. Not only do I love to play Ultimate - I currently play for Stall 11, American University's Men's Ultimate Frisbee Team - but playing ultimate in Dubai has introduced me to a great group of people that have greatly contributed to my amazing experience thus far.

Oh, and as my picture shows, playing Ultimate Frisbee in Dubai during the summer can be quite the physical challenge; try running around in 100+ degree heat with 60% humidity for a couple of hours...


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